Announcing the Winners of the 2015 Callaway, Bowden and Lippmann Family Awards

May 15, 2015

At the 66th Anniversary Spring Luncheon, held on May 14, 2015, New Dramatists announced several awards recognizing excellence and service in the field of new play development.

The Distinguished Achievement Award was given to Brian Stokes Mitchell.

The Joe A. Callaway Award is awarded each year to an “outgoing” writer for service to the New Dramatists community. This year, it was awarded to a triumvirate: Deb Margolin, Susan Mosakowski, and Jenny Schwartz.

The Charles Bowden Actor Awards recognize four actors each season who have contributed substantially to the creation of new works by New Dramatists writers: Pun Bandhu, Cindy Cheung, Bill Gross, and Michael Laurence.

The Lippmann Family “New Frontier” Award seeks to assist playwrights in opening up new frontiers of the imagination, through travel and adventure. This year, the award was given to Barbara Hammond to visit Sealand, the tiniest country in the world, which is located off the coast of Great Britain, to do research for her play Terra Firma.

The Frederick Loewe Award is an annual award in music-theatre given to a New Dramatists playwright and his/her composer partner for the development of a new music-theatre work. This year, the award went to writer, Qui Nguyen, and composer, Shane Rettig, for their new musical, War is F**king Awesome.

Recipient Biographies

Brian Stokes Mitchell, dubbed by The New York Times as Broadway's "last leading man." Mr. Mitchell has enjoyed a rich and varied career on Broadway, television and film, along with appearances in the great American concert halls and has distinguishably served for 10 terms as Chairman of the Board of the Actors’ Fund. His Broadway career includes performances in Man of La Mancha (Tony nomination and Helen Hayes Award); Kiss Me Kate (Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards); Ragtime (Tony nomination); August Wilson’s King Hedley II (Tony nomination); Kiss of the Spider Woman; Jelly’s Last Jam; David Merrick’s Oh, Kay! and Mail, which earned him a Theatre World award for outstanding Broadway Debut.

The Joe A. Callaway Award
Deb Margolin is a playwright, actor, and founding member of Split Britches Theatre Company. She is the author of nine full-length solo performance pieces, which she has toured throughout the United States. She was the recipient of a 1999-2000 OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance. Her multi-character play, Three Seconds in the Key, commissioned by The Public Theater and premiered by New Georges, won the 2005 Kesselring Prize for Playwriting. Her play, Imagining Madoff, opened at Stageworks/Hudson, and was presented at several other regional theaters.

Susan Mosakowski is a playwright, director, and Co-Artistic Director of Creation Production Company, an interdisciplinary New York theatre Company. Her work has been presented by The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Padua Hills Playwrights Festival, the Long Beach Opera, the Walker Art Center, La MaMa, The Flea, Manhattan Theatre Club and others. Awards include: Rockefeller and NEA Playwriting Fellowships, and a 2014 BAU/Camargo Fellowship.

Jenny Schwartz’s plays include God’s Ear, Somewhere Fun, Cause For Alarm, Iowa, and 41-derful. Jenny directed 41-derful in Clubbed Thumb's Summerworks 2014. Iowa, a musical play with songs by Todd Almond, premiered at Playwrights Horizons in 2015, under the direction of Ken Rus Schmoll. Awards and honors include the Frederick Loewe Award, American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Benjamin H. Danks Award in Drama, a Kesselring honor, two grants from Lincoln Center’s Lecomte Du Nuoy Foundation, and Soho Rep’s Dorothy Strelsin Playwriting Fellowship.

The Charles Bowden Actor Awards
Pun Bandhu has originated roles in world and regional premieres by playwrights Theresa Rebeck, AR Gurney, John Pielmeier, Len Jenkin and David Henry Hwang, among others, receiving a Best Supporting Actor Henry Award for his role in the world premiere of The Catch by Ken Weitzman at the Denver Theatre Center. He has appeared on Broadway in Wit (MTC) and numerous off Broadway productions. This summer, he will be in the NY premiere of Informed Consent by Deborah Zoe Laufer presented by Ensemble Studio Theatre and Primary Stages.  He has numerous TV and Film credits and received his MFA from the Yale School of Drama.

Cindy Cheung’s theater credits include Iowa (Playwrights Horizons), The Great Immensity (Public), Middletown (Vineyard), Sides: The Fear Is Real…(Ma-Yi) and her self-penned solo show, Speak Up Connie, directed by BD Wong.  Film/TV includes Obvious Child, Children of Invention, Lady In The Water, Robot Stories, Homeland, Nurse Jackie, Blue Bloods (recurring), Bored To Death, White Collar, Fringe, Sex and the City, all 3 Law & Order’s and the upcoming film Mistress America, directed by Noah Baumbach. She has an MFA from A.C.T. and is a proud associate artist of The Actors Center Workshop Company, E.S.T. and The Civilians.

Bill Gross first performed with New Dramatists 18 years ago in the Composer-Librettist Studio as a recent Juilliard graduate, and has been brought back as a participant in that particular program more than times than any other performer in its history.  Along with countless readings of new plays and musicals with New Dramatists over the years, he has performed at theatres in New York and across the country, most recently starring at Here in his one-man show All the Way Through Evening.

Michael Laurence’s recent NY credits include the Broadway productions of Talk Radio and Desire Under the Elms, Appropriate (Signature), The Few (Rattlestick), Opus and The Morini Strad (Primary Stages.) TV credits include The Blacklist, Damages, Elementary, and The Good Wife. He is the author of the plays Krapp, 39 (2009 Drama Desk nom.), and the upcoming Hamlet In Bed (Rattlestick, Fall 2015.)

The Lippmann Family “New Frontier” Award
Barbara Hammond (class of 2018)'s play, We Are Pussy Riot, opens this summer's Contemporary American Theatre Festival. She is also under commission to write Terra Firma, a play about the founding of the world's smallest nation-state, for the Royal Court.  In the past year, research for her plays have taken her to Moscow, London, Kiev and Idaho.

The Frederick Loewe Award
Qui Nguyen is a playwright, TV writer, and all around pop-culture nerd. He is Co-Artistic Director of the OBIE Award-winning Vampire Cowboys. In addition to the musical War is F**king Awesome, his plays include Kills Monsters (The Flea); Soul Samurai (Ma-Yi Theater/Vampire Cowboys); Krunk Fu Battle Battle (East West Players); Aliens vs. Cheerleaders (Keen Teens); Trial by Water (Ma-Yi Theater); Bike Wreck (EST); and the Vampire Cowboys’ productions of The Inexplicable Redemption of Agent G; Alice in Slasherland; Fight Girl Battle World; Men of Steel; and Living Dead in Denmark. His scripts are published by Samuel French, Broadway Play Publishing, and Playscripts, Inc.

Shane Rettig is a composer, sound designer and lyricist whose work has been heard in over a hundred productions in New York and across the country. He is a member of the award winning companies Vampire Cowboys and Ensemble Studio Theatre, and has been nominated for Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel awards.


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